Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has said that he’s approaching the balance of his NFL career one year at a time.
But, as with every other aging player, there’s a chance that Bruschi won’t get to make the decision to walk away on his own.
The chance in Bruschi’s case might not be significant, but it’s definitely there.
Indeed, Bruschi is starting to sound like a guy who isn’t quite sure how he fits in to the only team for which he has ever played.
“We’re in training camp right now and roles are being defined, and I know we have a lot of good inside linebackers,” Bruschi said, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
Complicating matters is that Bruschi has participated only in no-contact walk-through practices. “[I] just had to take care of a few things,” Bruschi said. “You get a little bit older
and you have to mend some aches and some pains. That’s just
why it took a little while longer for me to get out here, but I’m
feeling better now and hopefully, I can get back to work.”
In the interim, second-year linebacker Jerod Mayo has become the leader of the defense, filling the role that Bruschi previously occupied.
We doubt that the Patriots would cut Bruschi, but circumstances might nudge him to choose to make his exit. Whether it’s that vague sense that things have changed or a more acute fear that if he doesn’t take the initiative to call it quits he might not get to make that decision, we won’t be shocked in hindsight if at some point between now and Labor Day we all learn that the 36-year-old’s year-to-year decision-making process has pointed to the conclusion that this year is the year to call it quits.